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6:13 PM  September 12, 2021

Russia's largest children's Jewish center opened in Tomsk

© РИА Томск. Михаил ГолубевRussia's largest children's Jewish center opened in Tomsk

TOMSK, Sep 12 – RIA Tomsk. A children's Jewish center opened on Sunday on Rosa Luxemburg Street in Tomsk; about 100 people gathered in front of the Tomsk synagogue for the opening, RIA Tomsk correspondent reports from the scene.

Earlier it was reported that the Tomsk Jewish community has completed the construction of an educational centre at the synagogue. The center will have day care groups for children, language courses, and a library. It will be open for all Tomsk citizens. According to the regional administration, the new children's Jewish center is the largest in the country.

According to RIA Tomsk correspondent, the children's Jewish center was opened on Sunday, September 12, at 38/1 Rosa Luxemburg Street. The opening ceremony was attended by Deputy Governor Sergei Ilyinykh, Acting Tomsk Mayor Mikhail Ratner, Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar, and representatives of the Tomsk clergy. According to the correspondent, about 100 people came to the opening ceremony.

"The capacity of the center is very large: 50 children will be able to engage in pre-school education, 200 children - in additional education. Twenty specialists will work at the center. All conditions have been created for both bringing up and educating children to the proper level," Ratner said at the opening of the center.

In turn, the deputy governor for domestic policy Ilyinykh presented commendations to the head of the Tomsk Jewish community Yuri Zelvensky and Tomsk Rabbi Levi Kaminetsky.

"We see so many people here, so many young guys. We understand that this is not an easy time, people think twice: should they go or not, they are afraid. But the fact that so many people came is a sign that this center is really not only needed, but has been awaited for a long time," Lazar said at the opening ceremony.

Earlier, it was reported that the Tomsk Jewish community planned to build a House of Jewish Youth and a Tolerance Center at the synagogue in 2016. Construction was suspended in the summer of 2016, resumed only in the fall of 2017, and completed in 2021. The construction was funded by benefactors.

© РИА Томск. Михаил Голубев
Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar at the opening of a new children's Jewish center in Tomsk sang a prayer and attached a mezuzah (containing part of the Shema prayer text) to the doorjamb of the building
© предоставил Леви Каминецкий
A stone synagogue was opened in Tomsk in 1902. The two-storey building in Eastern Moorish style could seat up to 500 people. In 1929 the building was alienated and at different times it housed warehouses, a cinema, a military school and a regional court. In 1999 it was given to the Jewish community.
 


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